Baghdad to 'halt pressures' on KRG oil, gas sector until hydrocarbon law enacted, says PM Barzani
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government have agreed to “halt pressures” on the Kurdish oil and gas sector until the country enacts a hydrocarbon law, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani revealed.
The premier’s remarks came during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos, Switzerland.
“What we have agreed to is that all pressures on the KRG will be halted and stopped for the moment and we will wait until we have the hydrocarbon law,” the premier told Reuters.
Until then, the two governments would cooperate in “oilfield management, oil sales and revenue-sharing” Barzani said, adding they would be “formalized in the budget”.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani has previously announced that the hydrocarbon law would be enacted within six months after the new government's inauguration in October last year.
“We had a time frame of six months. I don’t know if that would be realistic ... but I'm hoping that we can do it as soon as possible,” Barzani told the agency.
In the absence of an oil and gas law in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region enacted its own hydrocarbon law, based on which it had contracted international oil companies to explore, produce, and sell oil in the Region’s fields.
Challenging the Kurdish energy sector, the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court issued a verdict, ruling the Kurdish law “unconstitutional”, a charge the Region’s leadership has vehemently refused, citing it as “politically motivated”.
Barzani on numerous occasions has reassured international oil companies that his government is committed to the contracts with the corporations.
“We always reassured all the IOCs and oil traders that the KRG is very committed to paying whatever they owe to the companies," Barzani told Reuters.
When an agreement is reached with Baghdad, the KRG will “expedite the payments and make sure we can close the gap ... that they have been tolerating so far,” Reuters reported.
Barzani last week visited Baghdad, where he met with the country’s top leaders to discuss a number of topics, including energy disputes between the two governments.